Today is starting off as one of 'those' days. You know what I mean. Days when the odds seem to be solidly stacking against you, leaving little room for hope as you strive to jump through the required hoops, only to find more hoops waiting on the other side, with no end in sight. Days when the needs are great and the resources to fill the needs are...not as great. Days when all the cars need some work, the spirit needs some work, and it would be great to just have a do-over and start this whole thing from another angle.
Days like this can be best summed up as playing a game of whack-a-mole without a mallet. On these days that it feels like I am just standing here watching the moles pop up and taunt me until I finally make a clumsy attempt to beat a few down with the back of my fist, ending up with nothing but a bruised hand. Accomplishing nothing, spinning my wheels, looking for a sign of hope.
Yep, today is one of those days.
It is on days like this that my mind eventually makes it way to Lamentations 3.
Verses 21 -23 are the best known verses of this chapter, and are certainly encouraging words,"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness".
Great is Your faithfulness. There's even a song about that, but on some days I'm just not feeling it. That's why context is so important. What makes verses 21-23 truly encouraging to me is that they follow verses 1-20:
"I am the man who has seen affliction" (v.1)
"darkness rather than light" (v.2)
"He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones." (v.4)
"bitterness and hardship" (v. 5)
"like those long dead" (v.6)
"I cannot escape" (v.7)
"he shuts out my prayer" (v.8)
You get the idea, so we'll stop there. Truth is, this pretty much describes how I feel on 'one of those days.' Maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic, but in the moment that realize we feel lost and helpless, these are the emotions that quickly well up and seem to block out hope. And without hope we truly are lost.
Yet this I call to mind. And therefore I have hope.
Today is one of those days. Today is starting out as a v. 1-20 kinda day. And that is alright, as long as it swings around to being a verse 21-23 kinda day, because that is the turning point of the chapter, and that is the turning point of a lousy day. What makes the change? The knowledge that God is good, and our circumstances are not the end. Jesus told us that, "in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). This is exactly the kind of reassurance that gets us through these rough days.
After this declaration, there is a marked turn in the chapter. The verses that come after this climax of hope at verses 21-23 sound much different than the one before:
"The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.” (v.24)
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him" (v.25)
"For no one is cast off by the Lord forever" (v.31)
"he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." (v.32)
"I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. 56 You heard my plea" (v.55-56)
"You came near when I called on you and you said, ‘Do not fear!’" (v.57)
"You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life." (v.58)
You get the idea, so we'll stop there. Ultimately, God does not stop bad things from happening to good people. Sometimes they are a result of our own decisions, sometimes not, but that is just part of living this life on earth. On those days when things seem out of our control, that is probably because they are. Yet we have hope, because we are assured that He is still in full control. Whatever this day holds in store, I'm determined to look at it through the lens of hope that is promised even in the most difficult of situations. God is good. God is love. God is peace, God is kindness, God is goodness mercy and compassion.
This I call to mind. And therefore I have hope.
As a writer and musician, Jason Soroski strives to communicate in a way that is insightful, meaningful, relevant, and mindful of the small things that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. He effectively taps into his experiences as a worship pastor, classroom teacher, husband, and homeschooling father of five to relate poignant stories from real-life experiences. Jason holds an M.Ed. from Missouri Baptist University, has been featured in various print and web publications, and currently resides in Houston, TX. Read more from Jason at his blog The Way I See It.
Image courtesy: Unsplash.com
Publication date: March 9, 2017